TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
HIDING THE ELEPHANT – Chapter 38
‘That gives Hale a clear motive,’ Debbie said and Tully agreed. ‘He’s killed her for the money that he needs so badly.’
‘It goes to Hale, or rather theRiverside, only under the conditions of a written codicil. Hartman hasn’t got the codicil, and neither does Hale. Do you think he’d deny its existence if it meant inheriting the Swan money?’
Debbie said ‘Hmmm…’ Tully made an uncomfortably similar sound.
At the Station, Hale stuck to his story. He had been with Alicia Masters. He was her escort at the party at the Gables. Grant could ask Alicia and their hosts, what’s their name, he’s into house alarms and the security business in general, doing extremely well thank you, didn’t talk about anything else. There were loads of people at the Gables; Grant could ask anyone and they’d tell him he was there with Alicia all the time.
But, in the meantime, in the meantime. Where was Hale in the meantime? In between say six thirty or seven o’clock in the evening when he saw Masters and his wife arguing and nine o’clock when he picked Alicia Masters from her house and drove her to the Gables?
‘I told you. At the Riverside. Going through the books. Worrying myself to death about the future.’
And the letters? How did the letters get into the back of his chair? Surely, Hale couldn’t deny they were addressed to him.
Oh, but Hale could. He denied it absolutely. He’d never heard such nonsense in his life. XY? How childish. Grant couldn’t possibly believe he, Hale, would get involved in a silly game like that. He didn’t care what everyone else said, he didn’t have an affair with Fran. For heaven’s sake, what did they take him for?
How did the letters get into the pocket?
How would Hale know? Any member of the cast, any member of the audience even, could have stuffed them there at any time. During the rehearsals, during a performance, at any time at all. There were seven sets of keys in all. Hale had two, the landlord had one, Elaine Rickman had one, Fran and Lennie shared another one, and two other people had their own sets only Hale couldn’t remember off the top of his head who those people were. Not many people used their own keys anyhow. He, Hale, was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.
What was Hale’s part in Humberside’s escape?
In whose escape? What had old Cedric had to with any of it? When pressed, Hale declared himself prepared to swear on the holy Bible and his own life that the last time he’d seen Cedric Humberside was some six month ago in London.
They were going round and round in circles.
LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS – Chapter 38
Almost a year ago Lucille La Chasse and Alex used to spend hours around this table discussing her divorce. She and Ransome had been separated for a while by then and she was living inLondon. He’d watch them from his study, while still busy making it his own, quietly taking over, mindful not to upset Alex’s feelings.
Angel would join them occasionally, but more often it would be Bella with the latest passion of her life, her laptop. It worked on batteries if necessary, but half way through she’d plug the extension cable into the socket in the back hall, roll it out long enough to reach her seat and shout to him to be careful and not trip over it. Alex was usually walking about, circling the table while dictating, with Bella typing away under the blue and white striped umbrella to keep the glare of the sun off the screen, and Lucille and Angel saying something very occasionally, but mostly drinking from tall glasses and moving the straps of their tops off their shoulders to ensure an even tan.
Dr. Bennett had once told Alex that the La Chasse girl reminded him of Nicola Finsbury. He fully expected his son-in-law to laugh at him. But, he didn’t. Alex gave him a long, strange look. ‘You’re a very perceptive old bird, Gordon. Like Nicola, Lucille is looking for a shortcut into the world of plenty, aiming for what she shouldn’t have and going the wrong way about it.’
Dr. Bennett was familiar with the tortuous, complex and uncertain road to the world of plenty and the absence of shortcuts. He had sympathy with the woman. As he used to feel sorry for Nicola. To him the similarity between the two came from the injured look they’d shared. Where Nicola used to be spotty, sallow faced and angular, Lucille was cream-skinned with or without makeup and shapely in a very modern way. Not like Sara. Every inch of Sara was a welcoming party to the eye and touch. Lucille was more for show. Then, there was the difference in manner. Nicola was uncouth, foulmouthed, awkward and easily put on the defensive. Lucille was playful, coquettish and openly calculated. But under the prickly camouflage of one and the glossy lacquer of the other, both considered themselves hard done by, short-changed by fate.
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